New Delhi: The drought situation, farm distress and security concerns in the Naxal-affected districts will be among the issues that will be discussed at the fifth meeting of NITI Aayog’s Governing Council to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday. This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, however, has refused to attend the meeting, calling it a “fruitless” exercise as NITI Aayog has no financial powers to support state plans.
On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has been fighting for special category status for the state, plans to stick to his demand at the meeting.
Reddy, who left for Delhi on Friday, had instructed his officials to prepare a comprehensive report, detailing why the Centre should give special status to the bifurcated state.
The agenda for the meeting also includes rain-water harvesting, aspirational districts programme and structural reforms in the agriculture sector, an official statement said.
The meeting will be attended by chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council includes ministers of Finance, Home, Defence, Agriculture, Commerce and Rural Development, besides state chief ministers and NITI Aayog vice chairman, CEO and members.
According to the official statement, the Governing Council reviews the action taken on the agenda items of the previous meeting and deliberates upon the future developmental priorities.
So far, four meetings of the Governing Council have been held under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister.
The first meeting the Governing Council was held on February 8, 2015, at which the Prime Minister laid down the key mandates of NITI Aayog such as fostering cooperative federalism and addressing national issues through active participation of the states.
The second meeting on July 15, 2015 reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.
In the third meeting on April 23, 2017, Modi had pitched for conducting simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies and shifting to a January-December fiscal year.
The fourth meeting of the council on June 17, 2018 deliberated upon measures taken to double farmers’ income and the progress of the government’s flagship schemes.
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